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Dracena troubles

Dracena troubles
Posted by Nicole from Chicago on 2001-03-20 15:11:36

I have a Dracena about 7' tall I
received 1 year ago. The leaves are
turning yellow and brown from the edges
and curling in. Also, it is developing
splits right down the middle of some of
the big leaves. And some light, grayish
areas. No bugs I can see. Too much
water, not enough? How much sun should
it get?

Also, should I get it a bigger pot? It
has four trunks, one of which is
splitting vertically. The current pot is
about 18-20" in diameter. I don't really
want it to get any bigger if possible.
  • My methods
    Posted by Carole from NY on 2001-03-20 15:12:24


    I barely ever water mine. I do however
    mist them about once a week which seems
    to have stopped my tips from getting
    brown. So I would definetly stop
    watering it as well as maybe a smaller
    pot due to they do like to be some what
    potbound. Every once in a while wipe the
    dust off the leaves as well as a light
    mist will help. Good luck and please do
    keep me posted on the out come.
    • repotting
      Posted by Leslie from MO on 2001-03-20 15:13:40

      I agree with Carole. Dracaena marginatas
      are very hardy plants and very
      long-lived. Don't water unless the soil
      feels dry at least once inch deep. They
      need bright light, such as an eastern or
      western window. You could divide the
      plant if it has separate canes, or you
      could remove the plant from the pot, cut
      the bottom three-four inches of roots
      off with a sharp knife, add fresh soil
      to the pot, then put the plant back in.
      Do not trim the roots right now since
      the plant looks unhealthy. This should
      only be done with healthy plants. If the
      plant is very stressed and unhealthly, I
      would not repot it right now either.
      Make sure the soil is not being kept too
      wet and the plant is getting enough
      light. When the plant recovers and
      starts growing new leaves, then repot,
      divide, or trim the roots.
      • Dracena/corn plant
        Posted by Nicole from Chicago on 2001-03-20 15:14:51

        First, I gave the wrong name of the
        plant. It is a Dracaena Mageana (sp?) -
        Corn Plant. I'm afraid I have watered
        inconsistantly - maybe once every two
        weeks. How can I tell the right amount?
        I thought maybe it was underwatering
        since the house is very dry. How can I
        check the roots since they are all
        hidden in the pot? What should the roots
        look like if they are healthy? Also,
        this plant is quite large, how do I
        split it into two pots? I have trimmed
        some of the brown parts off the leaves
        and wiped off all the dust.


        • Corn Plant Care
          Posted by Leslie from MO on 2001-03-20 15:15:59

          The corn plant have very shallow roots
          and rarely needs repotting. It may be in
          too big of a pot. They prefer to be
          rootbound. You could divide, cut the
          roots between the canes with a sharp
          knife, then plant each division in a
          smaller pot. They will tolerate lower
          lighting. I think eastern lighting is
          best for these plants. Feel the soil
          before watering, check it weekly.
          Sometimes during the winter the soil
          dries out quicker because of heating our
          homes. Only water when the soil feels
          dry at least an inch deep. Brown edges
          are common on leaves of corn plants.
          • Sun?
            Posted by Nicole from Chicago on 2001-03-20 15:16:46

            Carole and Leslie,

            Thanks for your help. So, I should:
            only water if the soil is dry more than
            1" deep and mist the leaves once a
            week. But does the plant need lots of
            sun, or only a little sun? It came from
            inside a commercial bank lobby, so maybe
            more shade? Do I need to cut off
            damaged leaves, or just ignore them. The
            ones I trimmed don't seem to be growing
            at all.
            • Dracena Massangeana
              Posted by Will from NY on 2001-03-20 15:18:21

              If your corn plant came from a bank
              lobby, I assume it was being replaced
              for a reason. Replaced plants are often
              not in the best of health. Provide
              bright indirect light, such as in front
              of an unobstructed north window. The sun
              should never shine directly onto its
              leaves. Damaged leaves can be cut with
              scissors to a nicer shape (similar to
              trimming fingernails) or they can be
              removed entirely. Individual leaves do
              not grow back. The split cane is
              probably dead or dying and should be
              removed from the pot when it no longer
              has any leaves. Water as you were
              previously instructed. Misting is
              unnecessary because this plant does well
              in low humidity. Trim off any roots that
              are growing out of the drainage holes.
              Otherwise do not disturb the roots by
              repotting or dividing. Also do not
              fertilize at this time. Pe patient: Your
              plant has been in a state of decline for
              quite some time and itwill take even
              longer to get it fully recovered. Good
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